Beautiful day at the Park
Ishpeming boys, Redettes win Marquette Relays
By RYAN SPITZA
Journal Sports Writer
MARQUETTE — Temperatures hung around in the 50s, while the morning sun shone down on Lake Superior and over Presque Isle Park.
It made for a perfect setting to end the first week of the high school cross country season for seven teams taking part in the Marquette Relays on Friday morning.
The Ishpeming boys, coming off of their Division 2 Upper Peninsula title a season ago, look to be the class of the U.P. again this season, winning their sixth straight Larissa Vartti Memorial Invite in their season opening meet in Munising on Tuesday.
On Friday, the Hematites claimed their second straight Marquette Relays title as well, once again claiming the boys team and individual titles.
Ishpeming finished with 10 points, followed by Marquette with 16, Gladstone 26, Escanaba 47, Negaunee 49, Westwood 51 and Gwinn, who didn’t register a team score.
The Hematites duo of Jordan Longtine and Jonah Broberg were the first boys duo to cross the finish line, clocking in at 32:16.
Marquette claimed the girls team crown for the second straight season, while it was the Negaunee duo of Talon Prusi and Emily Paupore winning the individual event with a time of 36:49, over a minute better from their win in the Relays last season.
The Redettes were followed in team scores by Gladstone with 27, Westwood 31, Negaunee 40, Ishpeming 42, Escanaba 44 and Gwinn, who didn’t register a team score.
Ishpeming head coach P.J. Pruett said concentration has been key for his boys team early on in the season.
“We’re off to a good start,” he said. “So far it’s determination, hard work, they’re being focused and they’re doing really well.”
Pruett also said there’s no doubt his boys team should be the class of the U.P. in Division 2 once again this year, and the outlook for the rest of the way is to stay healthy.
“We should be the No. 1 team in the U.P.,” he said. “Hopefully, we can stay injury free, we can keep them (the team) positive and keep working hard.”
Marquette head coach Kyle Detmers said he’s pleased with both his girls and boys teams in their opening meet of the season, despite the different format of a relay race with pairs of runners alternating mile-long segments for six miles.
“It’s been really good,” he said. “This is a little different because it’s a relay, so it’s more like a workout, but we’ll really learn a lot more next Thursday here for the Dale Phillips Invitational.
“On the guys side, they really looked good. On my first team, I had one of my runners not finish. I think we’re going to be right there, we’re going to be right with Ishpeming. Next week we have Gaylord and Marinette coming up, so we’ll see some different teams from out of the area.”
Despite being in different divisions, the Marquette boys will see Ishpeming at a few more meets this season, and expect to have a good battle with its fellow Marquette County school.
“We’re just going to hope to be with them next week,” Detmers said. “It’s probably going to be within five or 10 points. We want to keep staying with them and I think we’ve got the guys to compete with them.
“I think both our boys and girls are going to be strong in Division 1. We don’t usually see Sault Ste. Marie (last year’s boys and girls Division 1 champions) until the end of the season and they’re the defending champs.
“Outside of that, I really think we’re going to be competitive. We’re going to have a lot of freshmen who will be on the varsity team on the boys side and also the girls side. We try to peak at the end.”
The top eight duos on the boys and girls side received medals with Ishpeming claiming three of those eight spots on the boys end.
Gladstone’s Giovanni Mathews and Drew Hughes were the second-place boys finishers with a time of 32:34, followed by the Ishpeming duo of Joey King and Silas Broberg at 33:16. Marquette claimed three more medal positions on the boys end with the Redmen duo of Carson VanderSchaaf and Lincoln Sager coming home fourth at 33:36. Behind them were teammates Hogan Nemetz and Colin VanderSchaaf at 33:37.
Negaunee’s Alec Prusi and Timothy Ziegler rounded out the medal slots in eighth place with a time of 35:47.
Westwood’s top finisher on the boys side was the team of Jake Johnson and Jake Jestila, coming home 11th overall with a time of 36:57. Gwinn’s top runner was Cole Paulsen, who teamed up with MSHS freshman Sam Markey. They finished 25th overall with a time of 45:04.
The Marquette girls had two duos round out the podium behind Prusi and Paupore. Josie Danielkiewicz and Ericka Asmus finished second overall for the Redettes with a time of 39:24, while teammates Olivia Moffitt and Reegan Ketzenberger were third clocking in at 41:14.
Westwood’s Elizabeth Williams and Heidi Meglathery were fourth at 41:40, while Gladstone’s top finisher was the team of Jamisyn Bergeron and Sam Strasler in fifth at 42:07.
Ishpeming’s Abby Racine and Taylor Longtine finished sixth overall as the best Hematites girls finishers, coming home with a time of 42:12. Gladstone’s Lilly Karl and Chloe Hanson finished off the medal positions in eighth with a time of 44:22.
Gwinn’s Emily Evans and Alexia Basner were the only girls duo for the Modeltowners, and did not finish the race.
The teams return to Presque Isle Park on Thursday for the annual Dale Phillips Invitational beginning at 11 a.m.
Email Ryan Spitza at email@example.com.